Diet and lifestyle

I want to talk about how I manage my diet based in my daily life, my believes and my mental health.

Ayurveda (complete knowledge about life) is balanced in 5 elements that can or can´t be in our body, they are: earth, fire, water, air, space/ether.  A different and unique combination of those five elements determines our body, mind and spirit type, some of them cannot be changed prakriti because we were born with it, but doshas can be change depending in your life and behavior. Based on a quiz we did in class I learn that there are 3 types of doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This types of doshas are conformed by physical appearance, physiological processes (diet, climate, activities, country, etc.) and behavior, depending on your dosha you can have a specific diet who can keep you balanced, concentrated and active the way your body needs it.

 

I´m Pitta in an 80%, what means my characteristics are:

 

Area Characteristics
BODY TYPE medium size, warmer, reddish skin tone, metabolic medium and built muscle faster than the other doshas.
PERSONALITY tense, control freak and leaders.
IF ITS NOT IN BLANCE inflammation, workaholic, dehydration and hypertension.
ELEMENT Fire.

 

Yoga diet is divided in 3 categories (3 gunas):

Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic.Sattvic foods is pure, what they do is increase your energy and prana. satvik diet is that it’s light in nature, easy to digest, mildly cooling, refreshing and not disturbing to the mind. According to Ayurveda, this is the best diet for physical strength, good mind, good health and longevity. Rajasic The type of food is very natured spicy, bitter, sour, pungent, dry and excessively and exit the passions, making mind restless and uncontrollable. Rajasic food stimulates speed, sensual pleasure and physical activity.  On the other hand, Tamasic foods make one feel dull, sluggish and perhaps even lazy. Unfortunately, this is the kind of food the large majority of the population consumes in this day and age, this type of food I´m not able to eat.

According to Ayurveda and yoga, food is responsible for the individual’s physical, mental and spiritual development. Since food is the source of vitality, errors in diet will cause disorders. This is why we should be aware of the properties of the food we eat. When “aware” I mean we need to listen to our body and our mind, be careful with how we feed our body. Even though some type of food may belong to the sattvic group we might not being feeling pure and refreshing, in this type of situation we can choose not to take it and change it, there is a big variety we don’t need to force ourselves just because its in the sattvic group.

 

But, I´m not a 100% pitta because I got hyperthyroidism (physical alteration) who makes me gain weight, being cold all the time, be dull, tired, distracted, etc. So I have a different diet to help my body feel better and healthier. Besides the pitta diet I need to take away soy products, dairy products, gluten products & certain chemicals that are processed.

 

Since Pitta is associated with the fire element, Pitta-pacifying foods consist of those that are cooling, hydrating and subtle. These help to balance moisture, achieve optimum temperature and neutralize any excess acidity in the body. As such, Pitta should increase intake of sweet, astringent and bitter foods and decrease that of salty, sour or pungent. As a general guideline, hot, spicy and fried food should be avoided, as well as fermented foods such as sour cream or alcohol. A more comprehensive recommendation of foods that Pitta should consume is shown in the table below:

 

New diet with 3 Gunas

First week of Yoga Teacher Training, we learned about the food categories based on 3 Gunas, which is Sattvic, Rajasic & Tamasic. This is interesting!!!

After the class, I ask myself what is the percentage of food between this 3 gunas that I consumed all the while? My answer is ” I ate coffee, tea, milo, milk, hawker food, Japanese food, Korean food, Chinese food, western food, fruit juice, soy milk… fruits and salad too… emmm…Roughly 5% (Sattvic), 15% (Rajasic) & 80% (Tamasic)…”
OH OOoo….almost all is under Tamasic & Rajasic…
Looking into the food range, sound difficult to have full Sattvic now a day, unless today we have own farm, own cow to supply fresh milk, own land to plant organic vegetables…etc, otherwise there is no way to have full Sattvic diet. In fact, Tamasic & Rajasic food are not all unhealthy food. There are still a lot of healthy food with rich of vitamin, protein, mineral and so on…that human body require daily. We don’t have to eat Sattvic food to become healthy right? The most important to reduce unhealthy food and take balance diet everyday.

So, I do some analysis and finally I split Tamasic food into 3 types which is suit to me.
1. Tamasic Healthier – Whole meal, low fat, low sugar, non-processing and non-preserve.
Exp:Whole meal bread, Chicken breast, fish, mushroom, low fat milk, beef…etc
2. Tamasic Average – Normal hawker centre food, Bread, Rice, biscuit, taufu, chocolate, frozen vegetable…etc
3. Tamasic Unhealthy – Fast Food, fried food, snack, preserve food, processing food..etc

Next, I’ve adjusting my daily meal percentage to roughly 35%(Sattvic), 8-10% (Tamasic), 50-55% (Tamasic type 1&2), and 2-0% (Tamasic type 3) and my new diet begin…
Instead of eating fried “you tiao”, economy beehun..etc plus coffee, now my breakfast changed to cereal, whole meal bread, milk and banana. Not much changes for lunch, I’m taking normal meal in coffee shop, just try to avoid taking Tamasic type 3. For dinner, I took only fruits, nuts (almond, cashew, raisin…) and vegetables.

Results after 2 weeks:
Not really seen any obvious changes physically yet, my weight maintain… but I can feel not that sleepy even without coffee in morning. Also One thing can be sure, I became “more willing” to get up from bed in morning, compared to last time I keep snoozing my alarm clock many times, then late to work…haha!!! Furthermore, I seem like not very rely on coffee to make me awake anymore. Sound good!!!

Looking forward to see what is the changes along the way, will keep this diet for a period of time and observe…
Cheer!!!

Wei Veen

5 swaps I’ve made in a quest to achieve a Yogic diet

In yoga, energy can classify itself in three Gunas – Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. These three qualities are within ourselves and and motivate/demotivate different actions and attitudes that we take. When it comes to food and drink, the three Gunas can translate as follows:
Sattvic – foods that are pure, fresh, natural, unprocessed and will nourish the body in a balanced way. Whole grains, proteins like nuts, and pulses. Foods low in salt, sugar, spice.
Rajasic – stimulating or altering foods with excessive flavour – spicy, sweet, saline. Alert the senses and thus over stimulate the mind.
Tamasic – food that intoxicates a person or make them feel dull, lazy. Alcohol is included in this category, as is food that has been burned, fried, preserved.
The yogic diet encourages a sattvic approach to food and drink – which in modern society can be a challenge! Not only because we are surrounded by rajasic, tamasic eateries and products that are well marketed, but also because we use food as a social bonding activity.
Here are some simple swaps I have made in the past three weeks to (slowly) help shift myself to a more sattvic approach to food and drink.
1. Processed Sugar < Fruit Sugar 
I have a real ‘sweet tooth’. I often use sugar as a reward/treat, or an energy boost if I’m physically or mentally tired/stressed. It tends to help initially but I always slump a few hours afterwards and hunt out more sugar! Over the past few weeks I have swapped biscuits, sweets, for fresh fruit.
2. Sweet Drinks < Herbal Tea 
Historically I am not someone that has been hooked on sweet drinks/fruit juices/fizzy drinks, however as soon as I moved to Singapore I found myself drawn to the array of choices on offer when it comes to drinks! We are told through advertising that these are the most ‘thirst quenching, energising’ drinks but in actual fact they offer empty calories, damage teeth and make us produce more gas!!
I have swapped these drinks for herbal teas (with ice) or cold water. I have found this to be an easy switch and it has actually helped my energy levels and appetite to become more stable!
3. Plain Carbohydrates < Whole Grains
Back in the UK we LOVE to bake!! This means that many people consume a lot of bread, cakes, rolls, biscuits, pizza. Carbohydrates are important for a balanced diet but in aiming to move to a sattvic frame we should avoid foods that are over processed or too much food that will make us feel sluggish and have a tamasic effect.
I have reduced my bread intake (I’ve found there to be less temptation which is good!) and lean towards whole grain rice, pasta, carbs when possible. It makes such a difference to energy levels!
4. Dairy < Alternatives 
Traditionally dairy would be incorporated as part of a sattvic diet. However in recent years with mass production of milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt we have been exposed to the mass methods of production and treatments of animals which do not align with a sattvic existence.
I have reduced my dairy intake and have found some great alternatives – coconut yoghurt, almond milk, adding bananas and chia seeds when baking rather than butter. I will consciously aim to make these swaps in future!
5. Eating ‘on the go’ < Mindful Eating
This swap has been a big one for me! Working in a busy job in London, despite my healthy approach I often find that I cram time to eat in. Most days I would eat at my desk or en route to a meeting, and meal times were never planned! I have learned that even pure, sattvic foods become rajasic when eaten on the go as the action promotes a restless state of mind.
I am now taking time to appreciate my food in all stages: buying – preparing – serving – chewing – swallowing – digesting.
I have found this super helpful and has solved a problem I often face which is that I over eat and bloat (probably from shovelling food rather than appreciating it!).
I still have a way to go but am happy with the difference I have noticed thus far when incorporating some of these simple swaps.
Give them a try!
Abby

Yoga for a Happier Digestive System

Since six years old (or maybe even further back), I’ve suffered from constipation. It’s been common for me to empty my bowels once to twice every week. My family and friends who know about my constipation, used to say it may be because I don’t drink enough water or eat enough fibre, but that’s wrong. I drink at least 2 litres of water per day and eat a well balanced meal with enough fibre.

To ease my constipation I’ve tried incorporating yoghurt in my diet (which helped a bit) but stopped due to frequent skin break outs and a stomach bloat. As well as taking probiotic supplements, which didn’t seem to make a difference.

As time passed, I’ve ignored my digestive problems, telling myself that maybe my body takes a longer time to move the waste out of my bowels. But then as I commenced the 4 week yoga teacher training course, I’ve been going to the toilet to empty my bowels every single day. EVERY SINGLE DAY! AND SOMETIMES EVEN TWICE A DAY! It’s been an amazing feeling, where my stomach feels empty and at ease.

I haven’t changed my life style, diet, sleeping patterns, etc. The only new thing that was incorporated into my lifestyle this past week has been yoga practice (asanas and pranayama).  Five days of yoga in a row, practicing the asanas along with pranayama for minimum two (2) hours in the morning before lunch.

One might suggest it’s because I’ve been “exercising”, but the answer is no. I’m a freelance spinning instructor, teaching minimum of five 45 minutes classes a week. I “exercise” enough, thank you very much. Sure you can get an “exercise” out of yoga, but I’d say I’ve been moving my body a lot more in different angles and planes, twisting my body along with proper conscious breathing which probably massaged my colon internally, thus stimulating elimination.

Yoga really does purify your body, especially your colons. I look forward to continuing this regular practice (partly) for a happier digestive system. You know what they say, happy tummy equals happy me.

 

— Miso

The Yogic Diet: Cranberry Banana Bread

The Yogic Diet

Food has such a powerful impact – affecting our physical appearance, physiological processes and emotions. With such a diverse variety of food items to choose from, making small changes in what we eat and observing the effects these have on our body help us to decide which foods best nourish our bodies and minds.

The Yogic Diet comprises 3 main gunas (categories): Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Sattvic foods are seen as pure, wholesome foods that increase energy and prana (life force) within us. These leave us feeling calm, refreshed and alert, and are generally primary sources of energy so are largely plant-based. Sattvic foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts and oils, whole grains, legumes, honey and mild spices that have not been processed.

Rajasic foods are said to be stimulating, such as spices, caffeine, tobacco, processed sugar, onions and garlic. They make one overly alert and thus difficult to find calm.

On the other hand, Tamasic foods make one feel dull, sluggish and perhaps even lazy. These include alcohol, meat, fish and mushrooms, as well as foods that have been frozen, fermented, reheated, fried, stale or laden with preservatives. Unfortunately, this is the kind of food the large majority of the population consumes in this day and age, be it due to convenience such as microwave meals or taste preference, it not only provides insufficient prana to the body, but also inadequate fuel for the mind. From a nutritional perspective, some of these food items may not necessarily be harmful to health – for example frozen vegetables or meat still retain majority of their nutrients, but the process of freezing has depleted its prana. 

Besides that, the manner of preparation and the way it is eaten can also determine the guna. Food that is prepared with love and awareness is Sattvic, while overeating or scoffing down your food is said to be Tamasic, even if the food itself is Sattvic. Thus, we would ideally have wholesome foods prepared with love and care, eaten in a mindful and relaxed manner.

The effects of food on our body can perhaps best be seen in meditation. During mediation, the 2 main issues are an over-active mind, brought about by ingesting excessive Rajasic food, and conversely, falling asleep due to too much Tamasic food. Thus, Sattvic foods are best for attaining the balance between the 2 to quiet the mind whilst maintaining alertness to explore our thoughts.

Cranberry Banana Bread topped with chia seeds and butterfly pea flowers 

Ayurvedic Doshas

Ayurveda translates to complete knowledge about life. It focuses on balance of the interplay between the body, mind and spirit, where imbalances lead to illness. There are 3 main doshas (changeable body types) –Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each body type is associated with the 5 different elements – Vata goes with air and space/ether, Pitta goes with fire and Kapha goes with water and earth. Your dosha is determined by 3 main criteria: physical appearance, physiological processes and your behaviours or mindset. By doing an online quiz, we found out our doshas, where most people have 1 or 2 dominating doshas. Besides that, we learnt about the health conditions each dosha is more susceptible to, and how to alter our diet to prevent this. I have summarised some characteristics of each dosha below:

Properties Vata Pitta Kapha
Element Air, Space/Ether Fire Water, Earth
Stature Thin Medium Large bones
Skin type Dry skin Oily skin Good skin
Metabolic rate High Medium, warm temperature Low, but strong immune system
Mental characteristics Quick learner, spontaneous and likes change Opinionated, intense focus, usually a leader Easygoing, friendly, slow learner but retains information well, likes routine
Weaknesses Poor at managing finances, fickle Domineering, poor anger management Frugal
Medical conditions susceptible to Constipation, restless sleep, arthritis, depression, anxiety Inflammation, hypertension, coronary heart disease Metabolic syndrome: Obesity, type II diabetes, high cholesterol

Let food by thy medicine

In Ayurveda, diet plays an important role in affecting our physiological processes, acting as both a preventative and therapeutic measure. There are 6 main Ayurvedic tastes – sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent, which are also associated with the elements as shown in the table below:

Ayurvedic tastes Elements Dosha suitable for
Sweet Earth, Water Vata, Pitta
Salty Water, Fire Vata
Sour Earth, Fire Vata
Pungent Fire, Air Kapha
Astringent Air, Earth Pitta, Kapha
Bitter Air, Space/Ether Pitta, Kapha

Pitta-Pacifying Food 

Most of the class is Pitta dosha, so I made a pitta-pacifying cranberry banana bread to celebrate the end of our first week of YTT200. Since Pitta is associated with the fire element, Pitta-pacifying foods consist of those that are cooling, hydrating and subtle. These help to balance moisture, achieve optimum temperature and neutralise any excess acidity in the body. As such, Pitta should increase intake of sweet, astringent and bitter foods and decrease that of salty, sour or pungent. As a general guideline, hot, spicy and fried food should be avoided, as well as fermented foods such as sour cream or alcohol. A more comprehensive recommendation of foods that Pitta should consume is shown in the table below:

Pitta Pacifying Food Chart
Pitta pacifying food, source: https://www.theayurvedaexperience.com/blog/pitta-diet/

Cranberry Banana Bread Recipe 

As we practice asanas for 2h a day, we need to replenish the glycogen we’ve consumed, as well as provide our brain with the much-needed fuel for the afternoon of theory. Since our brain’s main metabolic energy is glucose, which we derive mainly from carbohydrates, I thought banana bread would be a generally sattvic snack to fuel us through YTT (which is also gluten-free). It has elements of Pitta-pacifying ingredients such as sweet overripe bananas, oat flour and cretan honey, astringent cranberry raisins and a small amount of cinnamon that contributes to the bitter taste. I’ve also topped it with chia seeds which absorb water to keep us hydrated and is rich in fibre to aid digestion. Besides that, butterfly pea flowers have anti-oxidant, anti-depressant properties that reduce stress and hypertension, and is beneficial for hair and skin.

 

Cranberry Banana Bread ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 medium bananas
  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cretan honey
  • 3 eggs
  • Cranberry raisins
  • Chia seeds
  • Butterfly pea flowers

Method 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°
  • Add the dry ingredients into a bowl
  • Mash the bananas and add them into the bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients and mix well
  • Fold in cranberry raisins
  • Grease baking tin (I like to use the inside of the banana peel, it works pretty well!)
  • Pour the mixture into the baking tin and top with chia seeds and butterfly pea flowers
  • Bake for 25min, then leave in for another 5min with oven off
  • Enjoy!

And there you have it, a quick easy pitta-pacifying snack fix. Would love if you gave the recipe a try, let me know what you think!

Kyla x

Food for Doshas

VATA

Naturally cold, dry, rough and mobile Vata needs food which has the opposite qualities.

They need warm, moist, dense and oily food.

Through food they can change their negative qualities which are dry skin, bloating, gas, indigestion, anxiety, insomnia and others.

Fruits

Choose sweet and nourishing food. Avoid overly bitter and astringent fruits such as cranberries. Same goes for dry fruit, it has to be completely avoided.

Apples can be eaten cooked, bananas have to be well ripe, watermelon during hot weather only. All the fruit should be eaten 30 minutes before meals as it helps its digestion.

Vegetables

All the vegetables have to be cooked as they are easier to digest. Raw vegetables should be avoided or eaten in moderation when the digestive system works well and is at its peak (lunch time). Root vegetables are very good for Vata.

Grains

Grains in general are well tolerated by Vatas as they are grounding, nourishing and easy to digest. They have to be eaten warm and barley should be on the bottom of the list as it is a rather cooling kind of grain.

Legumes

Legumes are easier to digest than meat, but in Vatas in weaker digestive system they could wreck some gassy havoc. If cooked they have to be well done and with the use of spices such as cumin as it helps assimilation.

Dairy

Choose ghee, goat’s milk, goat’s cheese and goat’s yogurt, kefir and unsweetened-regular yogurt. Avoid frozen yogurt, ice cream, and non-organic dairy products.

Nuts and seeds

Any raw and unsalted nut is great for Vata as they have all the characteristics they need.  Soaked almonds are the best for them.

Avoid salted and roasted nuts.

Animal products

Favor meat that is moist, sweet and easy to digest.

Chicken. Beef, eggs and fish are great.

Avoid venison, lamb and pork.

Oils

Oils are very good and pacifying for Vatas. The best choice is almond oil, EVO, Coconut oil, mustard oil and sesame oil.

Avoid canola, corn, palm and peanut oil as they are too light and tend to be rather processed.

Spices

Spices are very good for Vatas, they only have to be careful about overly spicy food and use in moderation some spices such as:

Cayenne, chili powder, fenugreek, horseradish and neem.

 

PITTA

Pittas are hot, oily, sharp, and pungent. That means cool, juicy, sweet and dry food.

They need food to counterbalance their negative properties such as oily skin, heartburn, hyperacidity, impatience, overheating, ulcers and others.

Fruits

Pitta should favor sweet, juicy and astringent fruits. They should avoid sour and acidic fruits.

All the fruit should be eaten 30 minutes before meals as it helps its digestion.

Apples should be sweet and ripe, so should be bananas, berries, cherries, grapes, mangoes, oranges and so on.

Pittas do better without excessive sour fruits like grapefruit and lemon or the above-mentioned ones if they are not sweet.

Vegetables

Sweet, bitter and/or astringent vegetables are the best for Pittas. They do best with raw vegetables.

Pittas need to avoid vegetables which are pungent, heating and spicy or sharp such as garlic, chilies or onions. Also, nightshades are not recommended for them. Vegetables to reduce or avoid are:

Daikon, eggplant, leeks, mustard greens, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, raw onions, radishes and turnips.

Grains

These should be a staple in Pittas’ diet. Favor those which are cooling, drying and grounding. Avoid those which have heating properties and yeasted bread.

Therefore, Pittas should go for amaranth, barley, couscous, oats, quinoa, rice, spelt and wheat. They should avoid buckwheat, corn, millet, polenta, rye and yeasted breads.

Legumes

Legumes are fantastic for Pittas. They have to avoid the processed form. Choose black beans, chickpeas, lentils, mung daal, split peas, tempeh, tofu.

Dairy

Pittas should go for soft cheeses and avoid sour dairies.

Choose butter (unsalted), ghee, goat’s milk cheese and yogurt and organic yogurt (homemade, unsweetened).

Avoid frozen yogurt, salted butter, buttermilk, hard cheese, sour cream and store bought yogurt.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts are not ideal as they are oily. Seeds are good though s they are cooling.

Choose almonds if they are soaked overnight, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Animal products

Pittas do not do well with animal products. They should be very limited and restricted to chicken, eggs and fish (saltwater)

Oils

In moderate amounts. The best choice is EVO, Coconut oil, flaxseed oil and ghee.

Avoid canola, corn, soy and peanut oil as they are too processed.

Spices

Pittas love spicy food as it stimulates their internal fire, they should keep the level at bay as it throws them off balance. Eat in moderation. Avoid cloves, garlic and pepper.

 

KAPHA

Kaphas are dense, heavy, oily and sweet. They need more light stimulating, dry, bitter pungent and astringent food to balance their lethargy, weight gain, swelling, mucus build-up and slow metabolism.

Fruits

Kaphas should favor fruits which is light, and minimally sweet or sour. Fruits like apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, lemons, limes, pears and pomegranates. They should avoid avocados, bananas, coconut meat, dates and mangoes.

Vegetables

Vegetables should be the center of Kaphas’ diet. Thy should avoid vegetables which are oily, heavy, dense or watery such as stews, mashed potatoes, tempuras and stir-fries. Their digestive system is weak so it’s better if they go for lightly cooked dishes such as steamed or roasted vegetables. They are better off avoiding raw food. Kaphas should avoid olives, pumpkin, potatoes, and squashes.

Grains

Kaphas should mind their grains portions. Stay away from pastas, breads and pastries.

Legumes

Legumes are fantastic for Kaphas as they are astringent. Cooked with cumin will make them more digestible. They should avoid miso, kidney beans, soy beans, soy cheese, soy sauce and tofu.

Dairy

Kapha should avoid dairy completely.

Nuts and seeds

Better avoided, they can choose soaked almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Animal products

Kapha should limit the intake of animal products as they tend to be particularly heavy for them. Chicken ,eggs and freshwater fish could be an exception as long as taken moderately.

Oils

In moderate amounts as Kaphas are oily in nature. The best choice is EVO, Almond oil, flaxseed oil and ghee.

Avoid processed heavy oils.

Spices

Spices are very good for Kaphas. They have real medicinal properties and Kapha should particularly enjoy ginger, cinnamon, coriander, chili powder, cayenne. They should try to limit the intake of salt as much as possible.

 

 

Chiara G. (Pitta) May 2018

Healing herbs in my kitchen

I have been reading a lot about Ayurvedic cooking and constantly trying to balance the food I cook for my family. My mother and now my mother in law, almost every mother in Indian family would pass this message to their children – “Food can bring healing and balance”.

I still remember those days when I was a naughty little kid and when I have cough, my mother use to give me turmeric in warm milk before I go to bed and I felt a lot better the next day. Now I feel it’s my time to take care of my family, whenever my husband has a sore throat I prefer to go for a ginger tea than an over the counter medicine.

Here is the list of few herbs/spices which I use in my kitchen and they are Tridoshic:

  • Turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Cumin

Turmeric:

Turmeric is one of the best medicine in Ayurveda. It can be used by all doshas. Turmeric is a powerful antiseptic, can be used to cure cough, cuts, wounds and skin problems.

I use turmeric in almost all dishes I cook at home.

Coriander:

It has good digestive properties.

Aromatic tea made by boiling 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds in 1 cup of boiling water (Can add palm sugar or old jaggery for taste), this herbal tea can cure cough and an excellent digestant.

Cumin:

Cumin plays a major role in Indian cooking. It helps relieve problems of gas, digestive complaints and a mild pain reliever.

After a delicious feast, it is always recommended to have a clear soup (Rasam) with cumin and pepper to kindle the digestion process.

I believe that happiness is homemade! Real food can heal you.

Happy feasting!

Devi

Pitta: cooling the fire

One of the many benefits of YTT has been moving the focus of our time away from a purely Asana based practice and to explore new areas. I find myself finding and spending more time with myself in quiet thought. Less Television and more Lotus!

One of these new areas that I have been introduced to is the ancient concept of Ayurvedic medicine and diet. As we went through the characteristics of the three ‘Dosha’ I recognised myself immediately.

FIRE

Focused; competitive; aggressive. But as all three can be advantageous in many circumstances, how to control the fire inside, how to dampen the Pitta. All I can say was this dampening, this control, was mighty concerning. Gone were so many favourites: pungent spices, alcohol, coffee. Was I about to be stuck with a lifetime of plain rice and water?

I have found the concepts of Ayurvedic medicine and diet interesting. Although I still enjoy the odd Butter Chicken (I especially recommend ‘Mustard’, 32 Race Course Road, their prawn vindaloo is to die for) and the odd bottle of Volnay, I have made a concerted effort to improve my diet on many levels.

And so I will leave you with a quick and easy drinks recipe to calm the Pitta characteristics.

GINGER BASIL LIMEADE

1 Lime (Whole)

1 small handful of (chopped) Basil

2 teaspoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of grated, fresh Ginger

Grate the lime skin to produce 2-3 teaspoons of lime zest. Juice the lime and add the lime juice and zest, grated ginger, sugar, most of the basil to 250ml of water in a blender. Blend smooth.

Add 750ml of cold water and stir before serving over ice. Add any remaining basil as garnish.

(Serves 6). Cool.

Namaste! Alex.

The Great Vegetarian Experiment: Five things I learned when I stopped eating meat for one week

When I was a university student, I went meat free for six months because I wanted to see if I could. I love vegetables, tofu, legumes, grains, etc. and did not have a problem dropping meat from my diet. The only reason why I chose to eat meat again at the end of six months mainly because of the social aspect of eating – nobody in my family and social circle was vegetarian, and it was difficult for me to avoid meat whenever I ate with them.

Fast forward ten years later: I am finishing my Yoga Teacher Training course and decided I would try dropping meat from my diet again. It has been one week since I have stopped eating meat; here are the five things I have learned:  

1. It’s not that hard to find vegetarian food when eating out in Singapore.

I have found this to be true regardless of the price range.

Under $10: For the cheapest option, you can never go wrong with the vegetable, tofu or egg dishes from the Economy Rice stall in coffee shops, hawker centres or food courts. Occasionally you will chance upon an Indian vegetarian food stall or Chinese Vegetarian food stall.

Under $20: With the popularisation of the healthy, fit lifestyle among twenty to thirty-somethings in Singapore, vegetarianism is catching on and becoming very trendy. Lunch places that cater to working adults in the Central Business District such as SaladStop! and The Sandwich Shop all provide vegetarian options. These days you can even find vegan fast food joints like nomVnom that serve really decent burgers, and of course, Indian vegetarian food is always available and inexpensive. I’ve developed a newfound love for palak paneer and dhal with chapati!

The Sandwich Shop: http://thesandwichshop.com.sg
SaladStop!: https://www.saladstop.com.sg/en
nomVnom: https://www.nomvnom.com
Gokul Vegetarian: http://gokulvegetarianrestaurant.com

Above $20: Thanks to the average Singaporean’s obsession with good eats, quality cafés and restaurants abound in Singapore. There are vegetarian restaurants serving different cuisines all over the country, as you can see from this list (which is just the tip of the iceberg!) here:

Afterglow (Western): https://afterglow.sg
HRVST (Western): http://kilteravenue.com/hrvst
LingZhi Vegetarian (Chinese): http://www.lingzhivegetarian.com
The Boneless Kitchen (Korean): http://thebonelesskitchen.com
Original Sin (Mediterranean/Italian): http://www.originalsin.com.sg
Whole Earth (Thai-Peranakan): https://wholeearth.com.sg
Herbivore (Japanese): https://www.herbivore.sg

2. The average supermarket is vegetarian friendly.

Apart from the fruits and vegetables section, the tofu section is full of options – tempeh, tau kwa, tofu puffs, tofu skin, silken tofu, etc. In the Fairprice supermarket near my home in the heartlands, I could even find vegetarian mock meat, like mock mutton and mock shrimp! 

3. Digestion feels faster and quicker.

As much as I love eating meat, after my meals I always feel like the meat I’ve eaten has sunk to the bottom of my stomach and that feeling does not go away for some time. A meat-free diet on the other hand feels a lot lighter and I do not get that “heavy” feeling!

4. I pay more attention to my nutritional needs.

I don’t do this when I am an omnivore because I take it for granted that I am getting the essential nutrients and vitamins I need. The second I drop meat, however, I start paying more attention to my diet, trying to ensure that my diet is balanced and I get enough calcium, iodine, iron, vitamin D and B-12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Being a vegetarian is not hard. Being a vegetarian when your entire social circle isn’t, is hard.

I still struggle with the social aspect of being vegetarian. My family and social circle has not changed since I was in university, i.e. there are still no vegetarians in my life (my yoga teachers do not count!) I work in the food and beverage industry, so business entertainment is a common part of the job and finding vegetarian options each time will be difficult. I do not know how long this will last, but I think the best I can hope for in the long term is to eat meat only when necessary, such as during family functions like Chinese New Year, or dedicating a specific day a week to avoid meat #MeatlessMondays.

 

Rachel, March 2018 Weekend YTT

Pitta in me

Is interesting to know what’s our body type and start working on it, to balance it out with a healthier diet.

By understanding my body type as a Pitta dosha, I have better control on both my body and mind.

The characteristic of Pitta:

The Pitta dosha controls digestion, metabolism, and energy production. The primary function of Pitta is transformation. Those with a predominance of the Pitta principle have a fiery nature that manifests in both body and mind.

  • Pittas are usually of medium size and weight. They sometimes have bright red hair, but baldness or thinning hair is also common in a Pitta. They have excellent digestion, which sometimes leads them to believe they can eat anything. They have a warm body temperature. They sleep soundly for short periods of time and have a strong sex drive. When in balance, Pittas have a lustrous complexion, perfect digestion, abundant energy, and a strong appetite. When out of balance, Pittas may suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, peptic ulcers, excessive body heat, heartburn, and indigestion.

In order to keep a balance, I am trying to make the changes to my lifestyle. To allow my mind to calm down with some free time everyday, and not skip meals. Eat more cooling food (sweet fruits & melons). Keep some plants and fresh flowers, cooling and sweet aromas (sandalwood, rose, lavender) at home. Laugh a lot, and stay happy.

Choose the food that help to balance the heat.

  • Dairy can help balance the heat of Pitta. This includes milk, butter, and ghee. Sour, fermented products such as yogurt, sour cream, and cheese should be used sparingly as sour tastes aggravate Pitta.
  • All sweeteners may be taken in moderation except molasses and honey.
  • The best oils to pacify Pitta are olive, sunflower, and coconut. Use less sesame, almond, and corn oil, which are more heating.
  • Wheat, rice, barley, and oats are the best grains to reduce Pitta. Eat less corn, rye, millet, and brown rice.
  • Stick to sweeter fruits such as grapes, melons, cherries, coconuts, avocados, mangoes, pomegranates, fully ripe pineapples, oranges, and plums.
  • Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, apricots, and berries.
  • The vegetables to favor are asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans, and zucchini.
  • The vegetables to avoid include tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, beets, eggplant, onions, garlic, radishes, and spinach.
  • Pitta types should use seasonings that are soothing and cooling. These include coriander, cilantro, cardamom, saffron, and fennel. Hotter spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, salt, and mustard seed should be used sparingly. Very hot seasonings such as chili peppers, and cayenne are best avoided. Chew on fennel seeds after meals to cool down acid in the stomach.
  • For non-vegetarians, chicken, pheasant and turkey are preferable while beef, seafood, and eggs increase Pitta and should be minimized.

More information on Pitta:

https://chopra.com/article/understanding-pitta-how-feed-your-inner-fire

“Eat Healthy, think Better” anonymous

Jess Chua

200hrs YTT weekend March 2018